In September, the Korea Advanced Institute of Technology (KAIST) demonstrated the technical concept for the On Line Electric Vehicle (OLEV) using individual cars (which were really kind of cute – see them here). Today, the KAIST launched an actual prototype electric train that draws energy through non-contact magnetic charging from power strips embedded in the road. The train, with three cars, is now in use at an amusement park in Gwacheon, south of Seoul. The power strips are only required in 400 meters of the 2.2-kilometer (1.4-mile) route, or about 18-20 percent of the total distance. KAIST will build a larger system in Seoul for buses if the technology in the train proves successful.

Why is all this important? Because, by drawing energy from the road as it moves along, the train can use a battery that is only 20 percent as large and powerful as would otherwise be required. There's a serious cost reduction as well – with the cost shifted to installing the power strips into the road. Overall, the total cost for electric vehicles is about a third of what standalone electric vehicles cost. KAIST president Suh Nam-Pyo had high praise for the technology:
The potential for application (of this technology to public transport systems) is limitless. I dare say this is one of the most significant technical gains in the 21st century.
Thanks to Roy B. for the tip!

[Source: Physorg]

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